Perfect the Art of Thanksgiving Sides, Turkey, and Pies With Local Classes

Flickr/Stacy Spensley
Preparing Thanksgiving dinner is a giant undertaking that can yield some pretty delicious results, but if it's your first time taking on the memorable feast you may want to ask some experts for help. These cooking classes showcase everything you need to know when it comes to cooking the turkey, classic side dishes, and the requisite pies. We hope this will be the first of many dinners that you can add to your repertoire.

Everything but the Turkey
Where: SF Cooking School, 690 Van Ness Ave. (at Turk St.), (415) 346-2665
When: Sat., Nov. 2, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m., and Wed., Nov. 20, 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Cost: $170 (Sign up soon as classes fill up quickly at SF Cooking School)
The Rundown: This class covers Thanksgiving in true cooking school style. You'll not only learn how to prepare seasonal side dishes like squash soup and savory bread pudding, but they'll also help you create a timeline for cooking so that you can prepare certain dishes ahead of time while others can be thrown together quickly. Allowing you to enjoy a glass of wine and some time with your guests, outside of the kitchen.

Bird is the Word
Where: Williams-Sonoma, 340 Post St. (at Powell), (415) 362-9450
When: Classic Turkey: Sun., Nov. 3, 11 a.m., Wed. Nov. 6, 12 p.m. or Off-the-Platter Turkey: Sun., Nov. 10, 11 a.m., Wed., Nov. 13, 12 p.m.
Cost: Free (sign up by calling the store)
The Rundown: Don't let the centerpiece of the meal intimidate you. Learn how to select your bird then brine, roast, and carve it like you've been doing it for years. But if you're looking to seriously spice up dinner this year, then sign up for the turkey class that teaches you how to deep fry or grill your turkey, leaving room in the oven for more sides and more pie.


Pies and Pie Dough
Where: Baking Arts, 542 Brannan St. #410 (at Fourth), (415) 706-7112
When: Tues., Nov. 12, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $90 (Purchase in advance through Baking Arts)
The Rundown: Making pie dough can be just as daunting as roasting the turkey. That's why we're recommending that you spend an evening covered in butter, flour, and sugar while you perfect your skills. Fruit-filled pies are the theme of this class, because everybody knows that apple pie beats pumpkin pie any day.

Leave it to the Professionals
Where: Salumeria, 3000 20th St. (at Alabama St.),
When: Order by Sun., Nov. 24 to pick up on Wed., Nov. 27
Cost: $295, with the option to add wines ($25-$55/bottle) Order forms can be found at Salumeria
The Rundown: If you're not feeling up to cooking this year or if you've failed miserably in one of the classes above (though we're rooting for you!), then let Thomas McNaughton's team prepare your feast. The Thanksgiving Dinner package feeds 4-6 people and includes dishes like oyster stuffing, pumpkin pie and of course a pre-brined turkey. Maybe you'll have better luck in the kitchen next year.

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